Annie [00:00:01] I’m hanging out still with people who share my values. My friends are still asking the same questions. I think that’s a good question for us to ask themselves is what would those values be that we would be afraid that we would step into? And are we living in a community with people who would question us if we were starting to shift into values that are like really inauthentic to us?
Linzy [00:00:28] Welcome to the Money Skills For Therapists podcast, where we answer this question How can therapists and health practitioners go from money shame and confusion, to feeling calm and confident about their finances and get money really working for them in both their private practice and their lives? I’m your host Linzy Bonham therapist turned money coach and creator of the course Money Skills For Therapists. Hello and welcome back to the Money Skills For Therapists podcast. Today’s guest is Annie Schuessler. Annie’s a business coach and she’s also the host of the Rebel Therapist podcast. With her rebel therapist programs, she’s all about helping therapists, healers, and coaches make an impact beyond traditional private practice. Today, Annie and I got into investing in your business, what it feels like to launch and like, put yourself out there and be in the middle of something. We talked about money and her increased ability to earn because of like the big work that she does now, the scaled business that she’s built, how her relationship to money has changed and not changed. If you’re curious about building something beyond private practice, this is going to be a great episode for you. Annie and I have some pretty honest conversations during this episode about what it feels like to have a bigger brand and to not be a therapist anymore and have a brand that is based more on like launching and bringing people into your program at certain times and being seen and money coming in in chunks like these are kind of some of the maybe more challenging parts of having a business that is beyond private practice, but also is, I think, an amplification in a lot of ways of what all of us struggle with at all stages of business, whether it’s just starting out in private practice or having a larger private practice. What we talking about today in terms of the challenges around those negative stories that can come up and the fears about money happen at every level. They just kind of get bigger. When your business gets bigger, those fears can also get bigger. Great conversation today. Here is my conversation with Annie Schuessler. So Annie, welcome to the podcast.
Annie [00:02:44] Thanks, Linzy.
Linzy [00:02:45] We were just talking before we start recording that. It’s nice to see each other again because we connected for a chat last year at some point. Yeah, and we’ve been wanting to do it again and now we’re doing it and recording at the same time. So this is like a treat for us as well as a podcast episode.
Annie [00:03:01] I just get excited to talk to you and, you know, connect with your brain. It’s so fun. Thank you.
Linzy [00:03:08] I was just saying to you, like we’ve not had on the podcast yet, too much discussion about like the real nitty gritty of like expanding and scaling and going beyond therapy, which I know is something that lots of therapists think about. And certainly lots of folks that I work with or listen to the podcast, I’m sure have had at least a fantasy of, you know, expanding, growing, doing something beyond therapy. And so I’m excited to have you here because this is the space that you live in now. Am I correct about that?
Annie [00:03:40] Yeah, that’s completely my jam is helping people create their programs beyond private practice, so not really within their therapy license, but in addition or sometimes even a replacement of having a private practice.
Linzy [00:03:59] Now, you no longer practice as a clinician, is that correct?
Annie [00:04:03] That’s right.
Linzy [00:04:03] Yes. And I am in the same boat. I am curious, do you still have your license now?
Annie [00:04:09] No, I let it go.
Linzy [00:04:12] You don’t. Okay! Nice!
Annie [00:04:12] Yeah, that was a moment.
Linzy [00:04:13] Yeah, I bet it.
Annie [00:04:15] Because it was time to either renew or let it go. And I really thought about. Hmm. What part of me wants to renew this or keep this? And what part of me is ready or wanting to let it go? Yeah. And so I took that leap of faith and just recycled it.
Linzy [00:04:40] You didn’t just let it go.
Annie [00:04:42] How about you?
Linzy [00:04:43] I do still have my license. Only because it’s also only $300. Yeah. And so there is like, there is an equation there for me of, like, the $300 to just be like, Yeah, fine. Here’s my renewal money versus the energy and bandwidth to investigate what happens if I do let it lapse? And what would be the process of like getting it again. And so for me, it’s been completely just based on like a time, you know, time for money equation. Yeah. It just hasn’t made sense yet to let it go because I’m like, I’m not sure if I really understand the full implications of letting this go yet, but yeah, I haven’t practiced in a couple of years. I just, I’m like an MSW in name, but not in practice at this point. So I’m just like, Yeah, yeah, sure. I’m doing professional development. Yap, yap, yap, yap, yap, yap, yap. Renew. Yeah, that’s where I am at this point. But I- you’re inspiring me a little bit because I do feel like that’s a- it’s a statement. It’s a move, right? To say like, I’m actually just going to let go of this piece of paper that has defined me and bound me in certain ways for so long and just pursue something different, like outside of those bounds.
Annie [00:05:50] Yeah. And feeling sure that I really wouldn’t want to go back.
Linzy [00:05:57] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I love that. Okay, so for folks who are who are listening, I mean, I know for me, part of growing my practice beyond therapy or going, I should say, part of growing my business beyond my practice. Starting to move out of that space did involve having to make some big moves. Right. And making some investments. And I know that’s something that folks – especially if folks already have anxiety around money or lack of confidence around money – can really struggle with to know when and where do you invest as you are thinking about building out these things. What are your thoughts on how do you figure out what to invest in as you’re thinking about growing your business?
Annie [00:06:38] So for me, it’s been in stages. At different stages, different investments made a lot of sense. Yeah. So right now, like I just re-upped with a business coach who has a $9,000 package that works really well for me. And it wasn’t a very big deal to make that decision. I know that I’m going to get at least $9000 back from what I do with her, and I wouldn’t sign up if I thought I was just going to get $9000 back.
Linzy [00:07:12] Right. Yes.
Annie [00:07:15] But I’m confident. I’m completely confident I’ll make that $9000 back. And I feel like, considering what I want to put into it, I’m going to probably get ten times that. Back, and that’s really important to me. Yeah, but in the beginning I would not. It would have been a terrible idea to start with that coach. Right. Like the stages have really been different for me and I feel like for me and I think for a lot of folks in the first stages, it’s really important to first just get clear on what do you want to create and who do you want to create it for and to start there. And so if business coaching, like working with a business coach, is going to help you get really clear on those things: who is this for and what do I want to create and how can I get out of my own way to really make those things happen? Then that can be well worth the investment. And sometimes I see people wanting to invest in things where I’m like, Oh, I don’t think it’s the right time for that. Yeah. So things like branding. Sometimes people start with branding first.
Linzy [00:08:33] Yes.
Annie [00:08:34] And I’m like, Oh my God, that money you’re spending, it will be so much better spent once you have the, like, what and who stuff really figured out, Right? Then you’ll be able to do some really magical branding work with someone.
Linzy [00:08:50] So true. It’s right thing, right time. Yeah. Like, there’s so many. At some point, almost everything is important, but it’s like, is it important right now? And what do you think it is about branding? Because this is a common one I hear folks who support people who are helping to scale and grow talk about is like there is something very compelling about branding or that like beautiful website, you know, the $15,000 or $20,000 website. What do you think it is about that that like pulls folks in at the very beginning of this work that they’re doing?
Annie [00:09:19] I wonder if it’s partly because it’s what we can see so easily. So we can see what someone’s website looks like. We can see how many followers someone has on Instagram. So some of these more visible things might kind of pull us in first because we think, Well, that’s what a successful business looks like. And actually, a lot of successful businesses have sales pages on Google Docs actually like run through mostly referrals, and they’re not very visibly glamorous and they’re making a really good living behind the scenes. So I think it’s partly just that misconception that started.
Linzy [00:10:02] Like this is what success looks like. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And certainly something that I have experienced is like a lot of the work of building something is this kind of like behind the scenes unglamorous working through building something, feeling it out, information, interviews, all of these things that are not very sexy and don’t have a nice color scheme. But those are the things that actually allow you to answer the questions you were just talking about there. Right. Like the who and the what. There’s a lot of kind of sorting through that has to happen there before you can even start to think about what your brand might be. And I will say too, I think also at the beginning, like there’s also a good chance you’re going to pivot and you’re going to serve those people and be like, Oh, actually, never mind, that was a mistake and end up doing something different. So when we do all this like branding around something that isn’t solid yet, there’s also the risk that we’re going to end up having a completely different business in two years and the branding is not going to be relevant anymore.
Annie [00:11:03] That’s really likely. Yeah.
Linzy [00:11:05] Yeah.
Annie [00:11:06] That also makes me think of the when we think about branding – and this probably isn’t really even true of branding – but when we think about branding, it feels like it’s going to be easier to do. It’s not going to hit our visibility and our vulnerability buttons as much as doing something like what you mentioned, like getting on Zoom with the kind of person who you want to serve and asking them questions. Talking to our colleagues, really just putting ourselves out there and asking for help, those things can feel really disgusting and they’re really worth it and useful.
Linzy [00:11:46] That was a very surprising word choice, I have to say. Disgusting was not the word I was expecting. Tell me what you mean when you say disgusting.
Annie [00:11:55] Like vulnerable.
Linzy [00:11:56] Vulnerable. Okay. Okay. Yes. Yeah.
Annie [00:11:58] Feeling like- so many times when I’m working with folks, they would rather do anything than, like, get on Zoom with somebody and get into a conversation and put themselves out there when they don’t feel, quote-unquote, ready yet.
Linzy [00:12:15] Right. Which also actually, it makes me think about kind of like the branding in the website. That’s the cloak that we want to put on to make it look like we have it figured out. Yeah. When it actually takes a long time to figure it out. And even when you figure it out, sometimes it changes because something else changes beyond your control or the culture changes or the market changes. So yeah, I, I do wonder if it’s like unconsciously folks are trying to skip that messy, vulnerable part and go right to the like, Ta-da! Yeah, here’s my beautiful color scheme, here’s my beautiful graphic design. But without all that, that initial work that you’re talking about, the who and the what and the like, getting on Zoom and talking to your people and realizing your assumptions were wrong and being surprised by something and then hearing it over and over and over. Without that, you can’t build something of substance.
Annie [00:13:05] Absolutely. Yeah. Did your niche change beyond private practice, or did you always know it was going to be around money?
Linzy [00:13:13] Oh, I always knew it was going to be around money.
Annie [00:13:15] Love it.
Linzy [00:13:16] Yeah. Yeah. Oh, yeah. That was like. That was the thing. That I identified as like, Huh? I have this thing that I love that everybody else hates. And I have not even grown remotely tired of it. In fact, I have to almost fight to stay in the space because I think- I will get advice from folks like or my students will give me the feedback of like I want- if you were teaching, like, how to, like, scale and like, build a new brand, I would do that. I’m like, Yeah, that’s cool. Annie does that. This person does it. This person does that. Like, that’s not what I do and it’s not what I want to do. And I don’t feel compelled in that direction. It’s like I want to- I’ll be the person who will help you learn how to do cash flow projection so you can make strategic decisions about what you’re going to build and how many folks are going to serve and when you’re going to roll out your courses and how much your operating expense ratio is going to be like, I will stay in that nerdy space with you, like this is where I want to to live. And so I’ve had to like really just commit to this space over and over because I think there could have been a lot of shiny object pull had I not felt so clear like, no, this is my zone of genius and other folks are really brilliant at marketing and that’s never going to be me. And that’s totally fine. What about you? Has your focus shifted over time, the folks that you serve?
Annie [00:14:28] It did. In the beginning, I was serving therapists in private practice and therapists who wanted to create private practices, and it was all about practice building.
Linzy [00:14:38] Yes.
Annie [00:14:39] Yeah. Okay. And I wish I had switched sooner and listened to that inner voice like you’re talking about sooner, if anything, because this work always kind of pulled me a little bit more like what’s beyond private practice and what are people doing and how can I help them do it faster? Yeah. So beyond private practice.
Linzy [00:15:03] Yes. Like, yeah, that, that spark and like, you know, this is something I talk about with students and this is what you guide folks in doing for their next level thing is like find that area either within your practice, the folks you love to serve within your practice or the way you love to work. Whether it’s like intensives or hour-and-a-half sessions or whatever. Find that area where there’s that like spark and pull and follow it, because the work that we love is easy to do. The other stuff can be really hard.
Annie [00:15:29] Yes.
Linzy [00:15:30] So you and I now live in a in a similar kind of space, this online space where we have to sell and show up and launch and all of these kinds of things. And I think that this is something that often terrifies therapists. Yeah, this is like something that they’re like, Oh gosh, I have to do all this sticking my neck out and not knowing what’s going to happen. I’m curious for you, how do you handle and how do you manage and probably what do you teach your folks about that work of like having to launch and open your doors to your course and show up and be seen and all of that stuff? How do you handle being in the middle of a launch?
Annie [00:16:12] I am finding that I’m finally having less of a trauma response when I’m in the middle of the launch. So- and I say finally, like I’ve launched dozens of times.
Linzy [00:16:24] Yes.
Annie [00:16:24] So this is hard work for me. And I know for a lot of my clients, it’s really hard to, like, put ourselves out there, know that our money, our income really depends on launches doing well. Along with, like, all the feelings that I have about myself when I’m launching, like, all of that is a lot to manage and to feel like, you know, my friends have pointed out that there’s kind of been launch Annie and then rest-of-the-time Annie and launch Annie is just more anxious or insecure, more kind of fragile than rest-of-the-time Annie.
Linzy [00:17:07] Right.
Annie [00:17:09] And I feel like that’s finally shifting to where I feel like there’s a just a stable Annie that gets through all of it. And then I can kind of, like, talk myself down more easily. Yeah, but that’s like, that’s after dozens of launches. So I really feel for people, especially when they’re starting out with launching. And part of what I want to help people do is set realistic expectations based on what they already have going on. So knowing what their audience size is, who’s in their audience, how many people they’ve asked for help, how many conversations they’ve been having, so that they really know, okay, I’ve got this set up for myself. And so. Here’s what’s likely to happen with this launch. Like, here are my numbers going in and then my expectations so we can like, set that together and think it through. Because otherwise I think you’re looking at what other people’s lunches look like from the outside. Which might be total bullshit depending on who it is and how honest they are.
Linzy [00:18:26] Yeah, right. Yeah.
Annie [00:18:28] And. It’s also like you’re not getting the behind-the-scenes look at what they’re going through during their lunch. So, you know, I also, I really like to help people choose a less risky way to launch the first time to look at do I want to maybe just launch a one-on-one program as my first offering so that if I got one person, I’ve actually had a successful one like running my program. And that doing that for a period of time while you build your audience and then go into a group launch.
Linzy [00:19:06] Right.
Annie [00:19:07] So like, I’m working with someone right now who’s planning on starting a group, no doubt, and this program is going to be so valuable for a group. And it’s, you know, it’s a group of people who tend – like so many – it’s a group of people who tend to feel isolated and need each other. So she’s going to run it as a group. Probably in the fall. And in the spring she’s going to launch it as a one-on-one program and then just run it enough times until she hits critical mass and can see. All right. I have enough people knocking on my door that this can be a great program.
Linzy [00:19:46] I love that. You know, you’re letting I think that that’s a very strategic way to start because you’re toe dipping. You’re still getting the experience of what it’s like to run a launch, like to put it out there, open your doors, have a deadline, all of the things. But you’re making it much more likely that you’re going to succeed. Yeah. And it’s nice to have an experience of success at the start rate and like set a goal that means that you can be like, Oh, I did it. I got my one person or my two people. Then you also, I’m sure, got to work through and refine your program by going through it individually with these people. Yeah. Which is going to also make it that much better as you do grow your audience and bring more people in the next time. That’s very strategic. I love that you do that with people.
Annie [00:20:34] I really like it too, because then she’s going to have testimonials when she launches it as a group program in the fall. And otherwise, she could just put- but I mean, there’s nothing wrong with doing it this way either. But she could put just a ton of energy into audience building from now till fall and not be making a dime in all that time. And so I would rather she make back the investment that she put in my program and the other things she’s doing and then go into the fall and start bringing in real money. Yeah.
Linzy [00:21:07] And it’s nice to actually be able to do the work that you’re wanting to do and like run the program that you’re building and actually get that experience.
Annie [00:21:14] You’re so excited about it.
Linzy [00:21:15] Witnessing the transformation and helping people. And, you know, I think what you’re talking about here, you’re talking about like “launch Annie”, “rest-of-the-time Annie” coming closer together. I’m sure so many therapists have experienced this even when they’re just marketing their private practices. But when you have a scaled offer, when you have something like a course where you’re really like putting it out there and trying to call in, you know, a certain amount of people at the same time to share an experience, you know, a scaled model. It really is multiplied, right? Like, I think there’s just so much invitation for so many parts of us. And we all have our special blend, you know, of like activation to come up. Like, I was joking to you before we started recording, joking, not joking. Like I just did a launch in January. I do challenge launches twice a year. So the money momentum challenge, which folks listening have probably heard me talk about or maybe have participated in, that’s an example of a type of launch that’s very intense. Right? It’s like it involves me showing up every day. There’s teaching, there’s lives every night. There’s engaging all throughout the day. It’s this like really intense burst of energy, which is like fun but like not where I live on a regular basis. So it’s kind of like I’m, like, partying hard for a week. Yeah. And then after you’ve kind of done your thing and you’ve shown people like, This is how I work, this is what the experience is, this is what I’m offering, there’s this five-day period, you know, where folks have the opportunity to join the course where you’re just like, have to wait and you continue. Like, I continue showing up and the emails are going out and everything’s happening. But, you know, I think for me, you know, what it brings up is this The part of me that can come up is the like. Well, just shut it down. This is fine. We can just burn it to the ground. It’s okay. That kind of, you know, thing where it’s like all this effort and, like, again, we’re all going to have those parts, but just noticing, like, Oh, there’s the burn it down part. Hello burn it down part. Welcome back. I’m doing a launch.
Annie [00:23:11] For you, what triggers burn-it-down? Is it like a day of cricket or like, what is it that comes in and makes you say.
Linzy [00:23:19] Here’s the incredible thing, and this shows that it’s trauma, right? It’s like it’s very black and white. I’m very numbers oriented. Obviously, this is what I teach. So I have my percentage that I want to see my conversion percentage like of the folks who are in the challenge, who aren’t students or grads already, because also some of those folks are participating. Of the people who haven’t joined me in money skills and who might be considering they would be eligible to be new students. There’s a percentage that you know, based on past launches, we want to see join. And the last time our goal was 4% and I landed at 3.6. Failure. Right?
Annie [00:23:54] Wow.
Linzy [00:23:54] That’s what the voice says. Right. So that is that like, you know, and that’s very black and white thinking, which, you know, is always a cue that you’re not in your balanced wise mind where it’s like four would be success, 3.6 not success. And that’s not how it works at all. That’s not how life works. But I noticed that in myself and to the point that I almost have to like, you know, when I’m venting to business friends. I have to almost like, walk it back after like, you know, I’ll have friends after who were like, Well, okay, let’s think of how you do this differently because you’re never hitting the number you want. I was like, Well, to be fair, we are talking about 0.4% difference. You know, it’s like I have to almost like add-
Annie [00:24:33] You have to remind them how to be- yeah- how to be the voice of reason for you.
Linzy [00:24:36] I wasn’t, I wasn’t being reasonable when I said that. And now I am being reasonable again. And reasonable me sees that, that was great and I really had fun and lots of amazing people joined the course and others now have had an experience that might help them decide to join the course later if it’s the right thing. So it’s like, that’s my like post-launch. I’ve had a weekend. I’m like, you know, everything’s back online again, but- and I’m sure there’s many, many other responses that I’m not even thinking of right now that I have, You know, when launches are are going on or when launches aren’t going well, when there is crickets, you know, that’s always a moment, too. But I do agree like it is getting easier over time, partially just because now I’m at the point where it’s like, okay, it’s launch feelings.
Annie [00:25:18] Here they are. It’s launch feelings.
Linzy [00:25:20] Feelings. We’ve been here.
Annie [00:25:21] Hi Launch. Hi launch Linzy or launch Annie. Like, we’ve met. Yeah.
Linzy [00:25:26] Yeah, exactly. I’m like, you know, like launch feelings will require some sushi and cinnamon buns from, you know, the overpriced store downtown. Yeah, Like, that’s really the best thing that we can do for them. But, yeah, it is. I think, you know, this is just such an example of how business and especially when we start to build brands where we have our faces out there and our voices out there and we are trying to call in our people, it’s really vulnerable. It can bring up a lot of vulnerable parts of us.
Annie [00:25:54] Yes, there’s so much stirred up at once because there’s that vulnerability piece about like our value or our worthiness. And then there’s the money piece that can feel so panicky, right? Like if somebody is- if, well, I’ll just keep it to me- if I’m not hitting a number that I had hoped and I’m in the middle of a launch and I’m doing all this predicting, which is not really a good use of my energy. But no, no, no, I’ll do it anyway. That’s a time when I can get into just money fears big time.
Linzy [00:26:30] Sure. Yeah. I like. And I’m curious, would you be up for talking more about that? Like, what do you think your specific stories or fears are that surface in those moments?
Annie [00:26:40] It’s a little bit like burn it all down, but it’s the language that comes up for me is, oh, never mind, Oh, never mind. This whole program and this whole business that I actually really love and get a ton out of. Yeah. It’s just sort of this like shrinking.
Linzy [00:26:59] Yeah, I was going to say like a part of like defeat or something like.
Annie [00:27:01] Yeah, yeah. And going invisible like, Oh, never mind. Yeah, that’s what feels tempting to me.
Linzy [00:27:07] Sure. Yeah, I can see that. And I think, you know, the thing about businesses like this and folks who are listening, like, if, if you are, you know, thinking about building an expanded brand like Annie has and like I have, this is something that’s very different from private practice is that the money does come in in chunks.
Annie [00:27:25] Yes.
Linzy [00:27:25] Or it doesn’t come, you know, like when you’re selling a course, you know, depending on the ratio you get, like folks are pay in full to like payment plans. You know, obviously, depending on the structure of your business, sometimes like, you know, it’s feast or famine the way the money comes in. And I think that’s such an invitation, again, to like all the parts of us, like all the scarcity, all the money fears can easily come out in that model because it feels like so much is at stake when you’re in those times, when you’re like, okay, now this is the time when all my work is going to pay off. And it’s like, Oh, well, maybe it’s not okay, that’s fine.
Annie [00:27:59] What if it doesn’t?
Linzy [00:27:59] It’s okay.
Annie [00:28:01] Yes.
Linzy [00:28:01] Yeah. Yeah, it is this like next level I think of money mindset work that you have to do. And then also, of course, I would argue, of systems that you need to put in place so that you are not actually, you know, relying on this one launch to make the money work. Like I think in businesses where you have feast or famine and this is true in private practice, too, for folks who are listening, who are never going to build businesses like this. This is also true in private practice – just not as extreme. You know, we need to have the systems in place to give ourselves stability. Yeah. Even if the money comes in in ebbs and flows, we need to have that stability of like a regular paycheck and a certain amount of money in the bank. Otherwise, emotionally, I think there’s just so much at stake and financially so much at stake. Most of us, I don’t think, are doing our best work when we are stressed. Stress to the nines.
Annie [00:28:49] That has really helped me. Having- yes. Thank you for pointing that out. Having my actual salary not dependent on what’s about to happen with a current launch is so helpful. Absolutely, so helpful. So I can look ahead to worst case scenario. Yes, it could happen. It hasn’t actually ever happened for me, but it could totally happen. But like, worst case scenario, I wait till the next launch and that would totally work out. Yeah. Another thing that I do to kind of hack myself is I like to come up with, like early in the launch the worst case scenario and find a part of me that would love that outcome. Hmm. So like, let’s say the worst case scenario is: my program has room for 20 people, but the worst case scenario is I guess I could just say no one signs up, because if I can find a way to fall in love with this scenario, then I’m going to be doing great.
Linzy [00:29:55] So then you can’t lose.
Annie [00:29:57] Right.
Linzy [00:29:57] Interesting.
Annie [00:29:59] To really, like, dream into it until I can find, Yeah, that isn’t my first choice but if that were to happen.
Linzy [00:30:06] Yeah. I mean I think it’s kind of like that CBT intervention of like what’s the worst that can happen.
Annie [00:30:11] Yes.
Linzy [00:30:12] Which I’m always surprised that that doesn’t just like send people into like pure catastrophe, but somehow it does seem to work where you’re like, oh okay, well if that happened, then I will reopen my private practice and launch it again next week with a different branding. Like, you know, it’s like then you realize like, Oh, that I could even solve that problem.
Annie [00:30:28] Yes.
Linzy [00:30:29] Yeah. Which is powerful because the black and white tells us that it’s like success or doom.
Annie [00:30:35] Yeah.
Linzy [00:30:36] And actually there’s a huge spectrum in the middle that we can manage.
Annie [00:30:39] It does usually surprise my clients when I ask them to go into that a little bit. Like what might be great about that happening? Yeah. And at first they’re like, That’s what I’m telling you. I really don’t want to have happen. Like, Yeah, no, I got that.
Linzy [00:30:55] I am listening. Yeah, but I can see that you’re kind of, you’re inoculating yourself against that. Yeah. And so, I mean, I am curious, Annie, with where you are and then like, what you’ve built, you know, you’ve come through private practice, you start practicing, you’ve now built this, like, coaching business around helping, you know, therapists expand beyond therapy. How do you think differently about money now than you did, you know, when you first started off, let’s even say back in private practice, what do you notice different about how you think about money now compared to when you were just starting out?
Annie [00:31:32] Yeah, One thing is that my expectation of my income is a lot higher. So like now I really expect to make- like to gross in my business, like over 300 K and my goals are a lot higher than that moving forward. And as a person in private practice, I just had a much smaller range of where I could see my goals. And I wasn’t unhappy with that. That was okay. But I just noticed when I look back at like, my old goal setting documents, I’m like, Oh, wow, I really like could see my income ceiling is a lot lower. So that’s one thing is just like I’m, not really linking hours to income anymore. Yeah, I’m much more linking like the value of my program, the value of the outcomes. How I can make my programs better and better. I think about that tied to income rather than how many hours can I work.
Linzy [00:32:40] Right. Because that is scalable. Right. Like the value and like the transformation deliver in the way that you find ways to have more folks have success, you know, with you doing a similar amount of work or working differently like those, there’s just so much more potential there than your time, which is like obviously got a finite limit of how much direct service you could ever do in a week and probably how much you could charge for an hour of direct service with an individual person also has a limit that’s going to look different. That’s interesting. So that makes me curious then, like has your lifestyle has your life changed a lot now, having built a business that has such higher capacity or such higher potential for the money that you bring in.
Annie [00:33:25] Some things I’ve noticed changing are I feel more ease with being generous. Like I feel like it doesn’t feel like a big deal to make decisions about like donating more. Or just little, little things with, you know, treating a friend to something. Those things don’t feel like as big of a deal. And then with what my kids get to do, yeah, they get a lot more options than they did- not into- I mean, they would be surprised to hear me say that because they don’t get a lot of presents or things like that. And we don’t go out to eat a lot. But in terms of the activities that we pay for, yeah, they’ve got a lot more options. So those are some things I just notice a lot of ease around. Yeah, but if you look in on my life it doesn’t look that different. It’s more like those kinds of things and being able to put a lot into retirement.
Linzy [00:34:24] Right. Yeah.
Annie [00:34:25] Which is a big deal.
Linzy [00:34:26] Yeah. That is a big deal. That’s a big, big deal. And that’s something I’ve just been thinking about this week – a couple of times I’ve thought and talked about it this week with people – where it’s like when you’re not earning a lot, you can still kind of like get by while you’re actively earning, but it’s in retirement that we’re really going to see the impact because that’s when that little stream of money starts coming in. You’re like, Oh shit, now I’m on this small fixed income. Yeah. Then it’s like the reality of it really is going to settle. So, yeah, having the more you would put away for retirement, you’re dramatically changing the last few decades of your life. Yes. At this point. Right. Because our retirement now is a long chapter of our life.
Annie [00:35:02] Yeah. And I don’t know how long. Like I’m 51. Yeah. I’m not feeling any pull to retire.
Linzy [00:35:08] Yes.
Annie [00:35:09] But you never know what’s going to happen. We don’t have a safety net in the U.S., so. Yeah, yeah.
Linzy [00:35:17] Yeah, absolutely. And I think about like my mother-in-law who retired earlier than planned because she had an injury and that was kind of like, oh, well, that’s the end of her working life. She needed her body to work. She now has this injury, like, she’s retired. The end. It’s not always the time or the way that we think it’s going to be.
Annie [00:35:34] Yeah. Yeah.
Linzy [00:35:35] But something that I’m hearing and that may be helpful for people here is: it does not sound to me like earning more has like fundamentally changed you as a person or you’re like, I’m hearing more ease. You know, your kids have more activities, there’s more security in the future. But I’m not necessarily hearing. Did you buy a yacht? Anything like that.
Annie [00:35:58] No, and what’s funny- but although we did go to Italy last year. Yeah. So that- I find that thing of spending more on experiences than things I know that’s not black and white. Like, what exactly is an experience? What exactly is a thing? But I do find that I want to invest in those things more. And I drive a clunker. And like I would have thought, like my sort of dream vehicle would have been like a really adorable, like Fiat or Mini Cooper. And like, when it comes into real life that just keeps not being what we want to spend money on. So we just keep buying used cars that will get us from A to B and that’s it. For example.
Linzy [00:36:43] We are the same. We are the same. Yeah.
Annie [00:36:45] And like, I don’t wear expensive clothes. Like, I also would have thought that, like, maybe I would have upgraded my wardrobe and like, I just keep not wanting to.
Linzy [00:36:55] Yeah. And so what does that tell you or show you? What have you taken from that?
Annie [00:37:00] I think it’s about like what truly gives me joy and pleasure and matters to me. Yeah. And, like, really comfortable t-shirts, it turns out, are what I want to be wearing.
Linzy [00:37:12] But it’s not just what you could afford. It’s actually what you like.
Annie [00:37:15] Yeah. Yeah.
Linzy [00:37:16] And I’m asking this Annie, in part because, you know, I do think that sometimes therapists like have a fear that if they make more, they’re going to change in bad ways. They’re going to become more materialistic or they’re going to forget about what really matters to them, or they’re not going to share the money. They’re going to become greedy and more, more conservative. And these kinds of things, which I think are cultural narratives. But I think also, you know, therapists are we tend to be very invested in like we want to be good people. We want to be doing good things in the world. And so I’m pulling this out partially because it’s like, yeah, seems really clear that that has not happened to you.
Annie [00:37:51] It has not. I don’t think- and I think maybe part of that fear because I’ve had that fear, too. I wonder if part of it comes from we’ve seen rich assholes, right? And like, we don’t want to be a rich asshole, but I feel like that might be partly that we’ve seen that when people have surrounded themselves with other people who will not question what they’re doing with their money or with their, you know, with their resources in general. And like, I’m hanging out still with people who share my values, some of them with more money than me, some of them with less. But like my friends are still asking the same questions. I’m still hanging out with the same people and some new wonderful people. So I think that’s a good question for us to ask themselves is like, what would that- what would those values be that we would be afraid that we would step into? And are we living in a community with people who would question us if we were starting to shift into values that are like really inauthentic to us?
Linzy [00:39:00] Right. Yeah. Like I think having authentic connection with your people, whoever that is, is going to keep you grounded and keep you connected with what actually matters. Because I’m sure there are folks where you do get pulled in. They do get pulled into things that in retrospect are like, Well, that was a dumb way to spend my money, or that was a dumb way to spend my time. And I do think there is a level of class and I’m not going to adjust to too much because this is kind of beyond the scope of this podcast generally. But, you know, I think there is a level of wealth where it does really start to change your life in ways that could be seen as negative. Like it’s hard to trust people if you have a lot of money. Do they like you for you? Are there to try to get access to your resources and what you have? You know, and you know, there are people who have written and talked about this, but that’s so far from where we are, most of us, that I don’t think that that’s something that is really going to be a concern if you’re making 100 K or 200 K or even 300 a year, especially if you’re living in a city, like you are like, you know, San Francisco. All right, that money doesn’t go super far. There’s not a ton of disposable income. We’re living in more expensive places. But yeah, I do think that there is a fear that folks have that I will if I expand, if I build a bigger brand, if I start taking up space and if I’m successful, I’m actually going to lose myself or lose my values.
Annie [00:40:18] Yeah, Makes us scared to make more money, even though that’s what a lot of us really want. Yes. So yeah, I mean, the reasons. Yeah. And me. Yeah, that’s one of the reasons I like to talk about how much money I make and I like to be honest about the numbers because it feels like I could never. I remember when I was first becoming an entrepreneur, I felt like I couldn’t get anybody to tell me the real numbers. And that made it so difficult.
Linzy [00:40:44] Yes. Yes. That transparency is so valuable. Annie, thank you. Thank you for joining me today. It’s been really wonderful. Have you on the podcast. And if folks want to get further into your world, where can they find you?
Annie [00:40:59] A great place to start would be Rebel Therapist dot me. That’s where all my stuff lives. And speaking of transparency, thank you so much for the honesty and the amazing stuff that you bring us.
Linzy [00:41:15] Oh, thank you.
Annie [00:41:16] So appreciate you.
Linzy [00:41:16] Thanks, Annie. I appreciate that. Thank you so much for joining me today.
Annie [00:41:20] Thank you.
Linzy [00:41:34] I really appreciated Annie’s honesty today. I know she thanked me at the end for my honesty. I think her honesty was also so, so valuable because Annie- I would say Annie is probably a little bit ahead of me of where I am, you know, with the numbers she’s talking about. She’s kind of two or three steps ahead of me. And it’s always interesting to, like, talk to someone who’s 2 to 3 steps ahead of where you are, wherever you are in business, and hear about what’s happening there. And, you know, hearing Annie’s experience of like, yeah, she has her goals are so much bigger now, her income is so much bigger and this is what has changed, but also this is what has stayed the same. I think sometimes we can have fantasies about – with our businesses and with our income when we earn more. This is what is going to change about me, for better or for worse. We can have the fantasy of Everything’s gonna be fine. I’m never going to feel anxious ever again. That’s usually not true. But we can also have that negative fantasy of I’m going to lose sight of myself. I’m not going to be a compassionate person anymore. I’m going to lose sight of my values. Right. And I you know, I so appreciate Annie sharing about her experiences with what it’s been like to build a large, sustainable, successful business beyond private practice and what has changed and what hasn’t. And just to summarize, the core of it is she hasn’t really changed a lot, but she does have more money to do great things with her kids, save for retirement, and create memories, which sounds pretty great. So I appreciate you coming on the podcast today. If you want to follow me on Instagram, you can find me at @moneynutsandbolts. And if you’re enjoying the podcast, I would so appreciate if you could give me a review on Apple Podcasts. I know you hear me say it every time, but I say it because I mean it. If you could take 2 minutes to leave a review on Apple Podcasts, it’s incredibly helpful so that other therapists can find us. Thanks for listening today.